Today’s Top Stories
1. In a joint press conference (see transcript or video) with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump cast doubt on the future of the two-state solution as a cornerstone of Mideast diplomacy.
So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. (Laughter.) I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.
I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.
In response, Palestinian leaders insisted they remain committed to the two-state solution.
2. Trump also called on Israel to “hold back on settlements.” Netanyahu later told reporters at the Blair House he would “examine” the possibility of a settlement freeze, (or perhaps a settlement slowdown), but there would be no restrictions on Jewish building in Jerusalem.
The prime minister also said Israel does not intend to annex the West Bank.
See below for more related news and commentary.
3. Court ruling forces German convent to exhibit Nazi artist.
4. Cambridge Dictionary Redefines Israel’s Capital: While Tel Aviv may be one of the Mideast’s most cosmopolitan cities, it is not Israel’s capital.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Most Israelis, plurality of Palestinians still favor two states according to a new poll.
• If you’re trying to get a better handle on the possible peace scenarios, see this AP run-down of alternatives to the two-state solution.
• Netanyahu called on Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
• Although Palestinian officials confirmed that CIA chief Mike Pompeo has already met with Mahmoud Abbas to discuss diplomatic matters, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat insisted that Palestinian leaders are still waiting to hear directly from the US.
• One noteworthy reaction to the summit: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop suggested that the two-state solution isn’t necessarily sacred. Echoing Trump’s remarks, she told Sky News Australia:
However Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop told Sky News if the Israelis and the Palestinians could come to a one-state solution the world should recognise that.
‘If they can come up with another solution that they were prepared to live with that ensured that the Israelis and the Palestinians could live side by side, live together behind internationally recognised boundaries then of course the world should support that,’ she said.
‘What we need is for the Palestinians to recognise that the state of Israel exists and will continue to exist.’
• The Fatah party’s Central Committee chose Abbas confidante Mahmoud Al-Aloul as deputy party leader. According to Reuters, it’s unclear whether the 67-year-old Aloul could potentially succeed Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority.
Around the World
• The European Jewish Press reports that anti-Israel MEPs have called on the European Parliament to freeze the EU-Israel Association Agreement over settlement construction.
• Poll positions:
• Following Disney, YouTube cancels PewDiePie show over anti-Semitic videos.
• The Jewish Chronicle reports that Jewish students recently fought off BDS motions at Ulster University in Northern Ireland and City University in London.
• Everybody’s reading the tea leaves of the White House summit:
– Herb Keinon: From Obama to Trump, a change in tone and substance
– Yair Rosenberg: Experts have been proposing alternatives to the two-state solution for years. Will Trump consider them?
– David Horovitz: Allowing Trump’s talk of a one-state solution to go unchallenged, Netanyahu fails Israel
– Nahum Barnea: Netanyahu’s unforgivable statement in White House meeting
– Tovah Lazaroff: Did Trump just nix the idea of a two-state solution?
– Jonathan Tobin: The two-solution: Does Trump’s indifference matter?
– Barak Ravid: Trump-Netanyahu meeting: Ignorance, contradictions and empty talk of a deal
– Annika Hernroth-Rothstein: New era in Israel-US relations
– Amb. Daniel Shapiro: Making sense of the strange Trump-Netanyahu meeting
– Shmuel Rosner: Trump killed the Two-state theology. That’s good.
– Ron Kampeas: Trump and Netanyahu: What exactly are friends for?
– Benny Avni: ‘Whatever’: Trump’s not-bad Rx for Mideast peace
– Amira Hass: Despite Trump’s statements, Abbas and Palestinians get another reprieve
– Jake Novak: Why Trump is right to back away from the ‘two-state solution’ in the Middle East
– Alan Johnson: Why Netanyahu must stand up to Israel’s right
– Peter Beaumont: Decades of Middle East diplomacy thrown away in one Trump sentence
– Allison Kaplan Sommer: Trump blew chance to denounce anti-Semitism, Netanyahu bailed him out with a kosher stamp
• Staff editorials also weighed in on the meeting:
– Washington Post: The president makes a dubious shift on Israel
– New York Times: Inching toward a one-state solution?
– Los Angeles Times: Trump just casually demolished the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
– Mitchell Bard: Why do anti-Semites get to define anti-Semitism?
– Giora Eiland: Gaza: The carrot, the stick and the narrative
– Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian assault on freedoms
– Yaakov Katz: What Israel needs: Weapons dominance
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